Phoebe Bridgers has said that she stands by her comments about recording studio owner Chris Nelson, which led him to sue her for defamation.
On Instagram in October 2020, Bridgers directed her followers to a thread by her friend Emily Bannon, which Nelson claimed was defamatory.
Nelson subsequently sued Bridgers for defamation and is seeking $3.8million (£2.8million) in damages. He claims Bridgers “intentionally used her high-profile public platform on Instagram to publish false and defamatory statements” about him “in order to destroy his reputation”.
Phoebe Bridgers performs at Austin City Limits 2021. CREDIT: Erika Goldring/WireImage
Now, in a sworn declaration filed yesterday (February 14), Bridgers responded, saying: “I believe that the statements I made in my Instagram story are true. My statements were made based on my personal knowledge, including statements I personally heard Mr. Nelson make.”
An anti-SLAPP motion filed on Monday says that Nelson is enough of a public person that he must prove that Bridgers “acted with actual malice,” meaning that she knew that her statements were false.
“Ms. Bridgers has submitted a declaration affirming her subjective belief in the truth of her statements, so Mr. Nelson cannot meet his burden. The court therefore should grant this special motion to strike,” it states. Nelson could not be reached for comment.
Nelson has already lost a separate defamation case against the musician, actress and director Noël Wells, where he alleged that Wells made “false” statements about him in correspondence with the band Big Thief and had caused him emotional distress.
Wells allegedly told an artist manager with whom Nelson had a working relationship that he had committed “an ‘incredibly predatory move on [her]’” and exhibited “incredibly predatory behaviour… toward young females including young female musicians”.
Los Angeles County Judge Gregory W. Alarcon dismissed Nelson’s case against Wells at a court hearing in January. He ruled that Wells was protected under free speech rights.